2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Panthers look to stop Seahawks' running game

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-06 13:14

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Panthers say their first order of business Sunday is slowing down Seattle's running game, which is triggered by quarterback Russell Wilson and spearheaded by running back Marshawn Lynch.

And they feel they have the pieces in place to do just that.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera says his team is better equipped to stuff the run this season after drafting 300-pound defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short with their first two picks and signing another giant space eater in Colin Cole to go along with veteran Dwan Edwards.

The Panthers also have Jon Beason back from an injury, helping solidify a solid linebacker corps that includes Luke Kuechly, the NFL's leading tackler last season, and Thomas Davis.

``We have four big stout physical football players up front that can help our guys and allow our linebackers to run,'' Rivera said.

The guy they'll be chasing primarily is Lynch.

And he's tough to stop.

Lynch has run for more yards than any running back in the league since November of 2011. He had 85 yards rushing on 21 carries in Seattle's 16-12 win over Carolina last October.

The Seahawks last year went to the en vogue zone read offense - a system where a mobile quarterback has the option to handoff or keep the ball as the play develops - something the Panthers used extensively the last two seasons with Cam Newton.

Lynch has been the beneficiary of that scheme.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Lynch reported to training camp this summer in great shape and eager to pick up where he left off last season, rushing for more than 100 yards in eight of Seattle's final 10 games.

``He's looked fast, and agile, and strong and has prepared every single day full on,'' Carroll said. ``... I haven't seen him like this. I haven't seen him this sharp going in to a season. He's really taking this seriously. That's not just like the last month or so, that's six months of preparation. He's really poured himself into to prepare for a great year.''

Carolina's defense has experience defending the zone read in practice over the past two seasons facing Newton, but they haven't seen it much in games.

With more and more teams installing the zone read, Rivera said he and his staff spent a portion of the offseason meeting with college coaches - though he wouldn't say which ones - to get their thoughts on how to best defend it.

Still, Carolina struggled to defend it in their lone preseason loss at Philadelphia.

That's something Rivera attributed to ``being stagnant'' at the line of scrimmage and reacting instead of attacking.

``When the ball was snapped everybody was trying to see where the quarterback was going,'' Rivera said. ``It was our first real shot against the zone read. But once we settled in and started to attack and do the things we are capable of, we were able to handle it a lot better. It was a good lesson for us to learn.''

The key, Rivera said, might be the play of Lotulelei, their first-round draft pick from Utah.

Lotulelei struggled against the Eagles, but Rivera said he was outstanding the following week against Baltimore.

``I think that was kind of one of those things that was an awakening for him,'' Rivera said. ``You'd like to see him continue to be effective inside, continue to push the pocket, hold the point of attack, hold the double team and let the linebackers run.''

On Sunday, the Panthers will find out if they're good enough to stop Seattle's offense - and compete with one of the best teams in the NFC.

``There's excitement about the unknown,'' Rivera said. ``There's excitement about what the potential is and what you hope to become.''

NOTES: Panthers SS Mike Mitchell (calf) is doubtful for Sunday. Rivera said Friday if Mitchell can't play recently signed Quintin Mikell will get the start. ... WR Domenik Hixon (hamstring), defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (thigh) and guard Amini Silatolu (hamstring) are questionable, while LB Jon Beason (knee) and FB Mike Tolbert (hamstring) are probable for Sunday.

---

Online: AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Steve Reed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Frankie HammondAug 27 10:42p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Frankie Hammond Jr. is likely to start in place of suspended WR Dwayne Bowe in Week 1.

Derek CarrAug 27 10:40p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr appears firmly entrenched as the primary backup quarterback behind starter QB Matt Schaub (elbow), even though QB Matt McGloin has posted the best numbers of the preseason.

Wes WelkerAug 27 10:31p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) made another positive step Tuesday, Aug. 26, in his recovery from another concussion, according to head coach John Fox. Welker has still not [ More ]

Matt SchaubAug 27 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) will be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1 against the New York Jets assuming his elbow is better and he can get [ More ]

Timothy WrightAug 27 10:23p

The New England Patriots really like TE Timothy Wright, acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for OL Logan Mankins. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport even considers him as the team's 'new' [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIAug 27 09:43p

Washington Redskins QBs Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins aren't involved in any kind of quarterback controversy, according to head coach Jay Gruden. The first-team offense has yet to [ More ]

Nate FreeseAug 27 09:27p

Detroit Lions PK Nate Freese has won the kicker job, because the team has released PK Giorgio Tavecchio.

Kory SheetsAug 27 06:53p

Oakland Raiders FS Larry Asante (undisclosed), WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed) and RB Kory Sheets (undisclosed) all were placed on the team's Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 27.

John PotterAug 27 06:43p

The Miami Dolphins placed PK John Potter (hip) on the Reserved/Injured list Thursday, Aug. 27.

Matt JohnsonAug 27 06:33p

The Dallas Cowboys placed TE Jordan Najvar (undisclosed), S Matt Johnson (hamstring), CB Justin Green (undisclosed), LB DeVonte Holloman (neck) and CB Johnny X. Thomas (undisclosed) were all placed [ More ]

L. WestbrooksAug 27 06:23p

The Cincinnati Bengals placed LB J.K. Schaffer (concussion) and CB Lavelle Westbrooks (thumb) on the Reserve/Injured list.

D.C. JeffersonAug 27 06:23p

Carolina Panthers TE D.C. Jefferson (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Wes WelkerAug 27 06:03p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has been ruled out of the team's final preseason game Thursday, Aug. 27, but has been exercising and will travel with the team.

Tim BenfordAug 27 05:23p

Dallas Cowboys waived WR Tim Benford Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Wes WelkerAug 27 05:13p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has not been cleared to practice at this point but is making good progress.

Jemea ThomasAug 27 05:03p

The Dallas Cowboys claimed S Jemea Thomas (Patriots) off waivers Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Tandon DossAug 27 05:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Ace Sanders (personal) and WR Tandon Doss (ankle) may be able to play in the final preseason game after missing the first three preseason games. Head [ More ]

Josh ScobeeAug 27 04:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars PK Josh Scobee (quadriceps) said he is not sure if will be able to play Week 1 because of his quadriceps injury. PK Kasey Redfern may make [ More ]

D.J. HaydenAug 27 04:33p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) is considered a few weeks away from returning to practice, according to head coach Dennis Allen. Allen said he expects Hayden will be [ More ]

Richard MarshallAug 27 04:23p

San Diego Chargers CB Richard Marshall has been working at safety because of the injury to SS Jahleel Addae (hamstring). Marshall's versatility could help him make the final roster.

Ryan McBeanAug 27 03:53p

The Arizona Cardinals cut DE Ryan McBean Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Tommy KellyAug 27 03:43p

Arizona Cardinals DT Tommy Kelly agreed to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday, Aug. 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Josh GordonAug 27 03:03p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon's representatives are considering a lawsuit against the NFL which could seek an injunction to put the suspension on hold until the legal process takes [ More ]

Pierre DesirAug 27 02:43p

The Cleveland Browns may consider placing CB Pierre Desir (knee) on the Active/Reserve/Injured list, which would keep him out for at least eight weeks of the season.

Phillip TannerAug 27 01:53p

The Dallas Cowboys will sign free-agent RB Phillip Tanner (Colts), according to sources.

Josh GordonAug 27 01:43p

Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be allowed to apply for reinstatement after the 2014 season and not after a full calendar year.

Josh GordonAug 27 01:23p

Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed at the team's facility during his one-year suspension. The team hoped they would be able to work with him during the suspension.

Zach ErtzAug 27 01:13p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz is expected to be more involved in the passing game this season and has shown the confidence to be a solid pass catcher, according [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 27 01:03p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed to file for reinstatement during his one-year suspension, according to a source. His representatives will look [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 27 12:53p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be suspended for the 2014 season after his appeal of the suspension was denied, according to a source.

Cam NewtonAug 27 12:43p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (rib) said he fully expects to be ready to play Week 1.

Rob GronkowskiAug 27 12:13p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) continues to make progress in his rehab but likely will sit out the final preseason game. Gronkowski is looking to be ready [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group